MPS accepts city's $25 million for new school that may not get built

Superintendent Thompson
Superintendent Thompson

Posted by: Mark Bullock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Montgomery county board of education voted Tuesday night to take the mayor up on his offer and accept a $25 million dollar grant from the city. But school board members did not stipulate how the money would be used.

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange originally offered the money so the school system could build a new high school on the east side of town. There is no public high school in that area.

But the resolution approved Tuesday leaves open how the money should be spent.

Superintendent Barbara Thompson says she wants to wait on the results of a new research project before deciding what types of new school facilities are needed.

"Any decision about what you're going to do about your facilities is going to be brought to this board. And the board is going to have to vote on that," Thompson explained to school board members. "You are basically saying that you are interested in this money that the city is giving you."

Board member Charlotte Meadows was the only dissenting vote.

When Meadows asked what the school system would do if it chose not to build an east side high school, board member Mary Briers replied, "We would just give them the $25 million back."

But it's also possible the board might not give the money back. After Tuesday night's meeting, Superintendent Thompson told WSFA 12 News she would ask the city to consider paying for something other than an east side high school, if the research project suggested it.

A spokeswoman for the mayor told us the city might consider the proposal, but Mayor Strange was out of town and unreachable for comment.

The school system's new research project begins next week and will include a series of public forums. It will be conducted by DeJong and Associates -- the same firm that conducted a similar facilities study for the school system five years ago.

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